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5 Great Homemade Hot Dog Chili Recipes

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These hot dog chili recipes are great for the whole family.

These hot dog chili recipes are great for the whole family.

Homemade Hot Dog Chili

Today, let’s talk about hot dog chili. You know, that hearty, tasty concoction that makes plain old hot dogs something special and rib-sticking. We go through a lot of hot dogs at our house. I like them, my hubby likes them, my daughters and sons-in-law like them, and the grandkids love them!

Hot dog buns never have a chance to go stale here. Oftentimes, when I give the kids a choice of entrees for lunch or dinner, they choose hot dogs, which is fine by me, so I try to keep a pack or two of wieners in the fridge at all times, with another pack in the freezer to serve as backup. Hot dogs are inexpensive, and they’re quick and easy to make.

Most of the grandchildren like their dogs plain, but the adults who dine here often prefer theirs with chili sauce. I have lots of hot dog chili recipes, and I usually choose the one I use at a specific time according to what I have on hand and on the mood I’m in. That being said, my go-to version is my best hot dog chili, and I’m sharing it with you here today.

Enjoy my hot dog chili recipes!

Enjoy my hot dog chili recipes!

Use leftovers for nachos.

Use leftovers for nachos.

Chili really dresses up a hot dog. Let’s face it – hot dogs are often made from meat scraps and fillers, generally speaking. If you were presented the ingredients by themselves, you probably wouldn’t find them very appealing. But when these less-than-savory ingredients are processed into hot dogs, they somehow transform into a delectable sausage that Americans just can’t seem to get enough of.

Even if your dogs aren’t top quality, your hot dog chili can be. In fact, I think it should be. Unless you’re using low fat wieners, you’ll get plenty of fat, so if that’s a concern, you don’t need to have a chili recipe for hot dogs that’s high in fat content. There are several ways to go about this. You can use extra-lean ground beef, or you can rinse your cooked and crumbled ground beef in very hot water before combining it with your other ingredients.

You might also consider using ground turkey in place of ground beef, although I much prefer beef in chili sauce for hot dogs. In fact, you might want to leave meat out, completely. Instead, you could use refried beans, pureed beans, or soy crumbles.

Homemade vs. Store-Bought

Homemade hot dog chili is so much better than the canned stuff. Of course, some canned versions are better than others, but most are pretty skimpy on the beef, and in my opinion, it’s the beef that makes or breaks the chili. Some canned brands have a slight metallic taste to me, too, and most are full of fat. For a cooking shortcut, I’ve sometimes used canned chili as my base, adding meat and other ingredients to improve the flavor.

And speaking of meat, you can make homemade chili with leftovers. I’ve used leftover hamburgers, leftover meatloaf, leftover sloppy joe sauce, and even leftover spaghetti sauce, all with great results. In turn, you can use the leftover chili in lots of recipes – soup, chili with beans, spaghetti sauce, tacos, and casseroles.

I like to take the leftovers and spoon it over tortilla chips. I then sprinkle on the grated cheese and slip the loaded chips under the broiler, just until the cheese melts. Take them out of the oven and top with salsa, black olives, and sour cream, if you wish.

Chili Burger

Chili Burger

How to Make Hot Dog Chili

If you don’t know how to make hot dog chili, stay tuned. I’m going to provide you with several recipes, and you can decide which one sounds like it best fits your individual tastes. Of course, you can make the recipes your own by tweaking – adding, subtracting, increasing amounts, or decreasing amounts of ingredients.

If you decide to use ground beef, you need to cook and crumble it first. I’ve seen lots of recipes for hot dog chili sauce where the ground beef wasn’t cooked before combining it with the other ingredients, and they didn’t sound good to me. Nevertheless, I tried a couple of those recipes, and my suspicions were confirmed. I didn’t care for them at all!

No matter what ingredients you use, and no matter which recipe you follow, don’t allow the mixture to get too thin. You want everything to “stick together,” and you want your chili to be thick enough to cling to the franks. It’s also important for you to sample the sauce after each step. That way, you can adjust ingredients and amounts accordingly.

The Best Hot Dog Chili starts with great ingredients.

The Best Hot Dog Chili starts with great ingredients.

The Basics

There are hundreds of hot dog chili recipes. The basic ingredients in most recipes for chili sauce for hot dogs include ground beef and some form of tomato sauce – ketchup, sloppy joe sauce, barbecue sauce, or canned tomato sauce. Some recipes might use a different meat than ground beef, or they might not use meat at all. Some cooks like to add ground up franks to their chili. For my best chili, I use ground sirloin.

To this base, there are lots of ingredients you can add. You might want to I include some veggies like bell peppers, onions, or jalapeños. You might want to add cooked dried beans to your chili recipe for hot dogs – chili beans, pinto beans, red beans, or black beans. I’ve created a table below for some ingredients you might want to consider for your chili.

Ideas for Ingredients

Meat/Meat SubstitutesLiquids for BaseAdditions

hamburger meat



ground sirloin



ground turkey

tomato sauce

bell pepper

ground pork sausage

BBQ sauce


ground venison

sloppy joe sauce


refried beans

Manwich sauce

black beans

pureed beans

prepared mustard

pinto beans

soy crumbles

spaghetti sauce

red beans

chopped veggie burgers


navy beans

leftover roast beef, shredded

Worcestershire sauce

diced tomato

Mustard Hot Dog Chili

Mustard Hot Dog Chili

Hot Dog Chili With Mustard

This recipe includes mustard, a taste that goes great with franks. You can use plain yellow mustard, spicy ground mustard, or Dijon mustard, but I think plain ol’ prepared yellow mustard works best here.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Brown and crumbled ground beef and drain on paper towels. Beef should be in very small pieces. Rinse out skillet and add water. Return beef to pan and stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer to desired consistency.

BBQ Chili

BBQ Chili

BBQ-Style Hot Dog Chili

This recipe has a sweet, smoky BBQ taste. I actually got the idea from my grandson, Tristan, who likes barbecue sauce on his dogs. No ketchup, no mustard – just barbecue sauce.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt, to taste


Cook ground beef and onion together until both are done. Drain away fat and finely crumble beef. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water, if needed.

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Vegan Chili

This is a good recipe for vegans and vegetarians. Instead of ground beef, soy crumbles are used. I’ve made this recipe for vegetarian chili many times, and my hubby has never figured out that it doesn’t contain real meat!


  • 1 bag Morning Star Farms Meal Starters
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or Dale’s liquid seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Dump soy crumbles in a large strainer and hold under hot running water until thawed. Squeeze crumbles in paper towels to dry. Set aside.
  • Pour oil into a microwave safe dish and add onion. Microwave until onion is soft.
  • Place soy crumbles and onion, along with oil, in a pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until mixture thickens. Spoon over vegetarian hot dogs.
Southwestern Version

Southwestern Version

Southwestern Hot Dog Chili

Here's a Southwestern version of hot dog chili.


  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • ½ cup frozen whole kernel corn thawed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • Saute ground beef, onion, and jalapeno in a Dutch oven.Brown and crumble beef. Pour contents of pot into a colander and rinse with hot water.
  • Return ingredients to pot and stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. If chili becomes too thick, thin with tomato sauce.

The Best Hot Dog Chili

This is the best hot dog chili I’ve ever eaten. I start with lean ground sirloin, and this chili has a kick, so be warned. Of course, you can always omit the jalapeno peppers or use bell peppers, instead.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

45 min

1 hour

10 servings


  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bottled BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dale's seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Lawry's garlic salt, to taste


  1. Place ground sirloin, onion, and jalapeno peppers in a Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Sauté over medium heat, until beef is brown and veggies are soft. Break up any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon. Drain away fat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Place lid on Dutch oven and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If chili gets too thick, thin with a mixture of water and ketchup or barbecue sauce. If too thin, remove lid for steam to escape.
  3. Spoon over hot dogs, sausage dogs, or hamburgers. Keep leftovers in the freezer to add to vegetable-beef soup, nachos, tacos, burritos, or Brunswick stew. It’s also very good added to baked beans.

Of all my hot dog chili recipes, this is my all-around favorite. It’s hearty, it’s lean, it’s spicy, it’s smoky, and it has just the right amount of sweetness and heat for my taste buds. Of course, you might prefer a different type. In my opinion, however, this is the best hot dog chili!